Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

"It matters not which way the wind blows, I can adjust my sails to reach my destination."
- Author unknown

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guide to: The Perfect Pizza Crust

I've been on a quest to learn how to make a good pizza crust. I think I finally discovered some of the secrets I'm willing to share.

Pizza Crust

1 cup (8 oz.) warm water (110 degrees)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 cup bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 package (2 1/3 tsp) Rapid Rise Active Dry Yeast
corn meal

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and let sit while you gather other ingredients.
Add 2 cups of the flour, salt, olive oil and sugar to mixing bowl.
Slowly add water and yeast mixture using paddle attachment on mixer.
Switch to dough hook and knead at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes while slowly adding a little bit of the rest of the 1/4 cup of flour until it's the right consistency. The dough will still be a little wet looking but not shiny wet.
Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
Pour about 1/8 - 1/4 cup of corn meal into the middle of a 14 inch round pizza pan. Place the dough ball on top and turn to cover with corn meal. (DO NOT grease or oil the pan!)
Press dough into pan creating a crust on the edges by making it a little more thick than the middle.
Prick with a fork.
Place in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes.
Add desired toppings.
Place back in oven for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
Serves 3-4.


Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guide to: Keeping Up With Shoes

My kids don't wear shoes in the house. It's not a rule, it's actually a strange phenomenon. As soon as they walk in the door their shoes fly off their feet! But then again, it never fails, when it's time to go, someone's shoe or shoes grew feet and walked away. Sometimes they're quickly found under the coffee table but most times they're up on the second floor buried deep in their closet under many toys.

In order to ease some of the stress and frustration when leaving the house, I came up with a central place to store their every day shoes. I installed a "shoe shelf" in our laundry room on the first floor not far from the exit door. The bottom shelf contains two baskets. One houses baseball hats and sun visors in the summer and mittens, hats and scarfs in the winter. The other basket contains their socks. Speaking of socks.....well....that's another post all together!

If you don't have enough real estate in your laundry room for an entire shelf, be creative. You might have room in your garage or coat closet. You could also find a wicker basket and place it in a corner near the door.

(Note: Yes! We are missing a few shoes. My oldest has a broken leg so she's wearing only her left shoes right now.)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Guide to: Effective Timeouts

Does your child run away every time you put them in timeout? Do they scream, yell or throw a tantrum? Do they become physical with you? Time Outs, Naughty Spot, Thinking Chair....what ever you call it, if you consistently follow these steps, you will be able to make your child’s timeouts effective.

Before using time outs, show your child the designated spot and explain to them they will sit there for a few minutes if they misbehave. Be sure that the time out spot is away from toys, television and other distractions. You can designate a chair, bench, step stool, stair step or even a spot in the hallway.

When your child is misbehaving or has broken a house rule, give them a warning. Example: Bobby, I’m giving you a warning because you are jumping on the couch. If you continue to jump on the couch, then you will go to timeout.

If your child continues the action or behavior after you have given them one warning, send them to timeout.

Walk your child to the timeout location. Squat down, so you are eye level with them and tell them why they are being put in timeout. Example: Bobby, I’m putting you in timeout because you were jumping on the couch. That behavior is not acceptable. You will stay in timeout until I come to get you.

Tip: Each child will serve the amount of minutes for each year they are old. A 5 year old will serve 5 minutes in timeout.

Set a timer for the amount of minutes the child will spend in timeout. Do not talk to your child while they are in timeout. This is their time to think about the decisions they made.

If you child screams and cries ; ignore their attempts to get your attention until their time is up.

If you have a runner, take your child back to the timeout spot without speaking to them. Reset the timer to the original time. If they continue to leave the timeout spot, continue to place them back and reset the timer.

Don’t give up! This part might be the toughest part for you. This timeout process will work once your child realizes that they will not be able to do anything else until they serve their timeout.

When the timer goes off, return to your child and squatting down, remind them why they were put in timeout. Example: Bobby, I put you in timeout because you were jumping on the couch. That behavior is not acceptable.

Then, ask your child to say that they are sorry for what they did. You both need to give hugs and kisses and this is the end of the timeout session. Don’t discuss the behavior anymore with your child. They have served their time and are now done.

When followed consistently, this process will take the stress out of timeouts for you. In the beginning, you may be placing your child in time out many times a day, but after a few weeks you will discover that your child's sentences in time out will lessen and their behavior will improve with just a warning.

Tip: Time outs will also work when you are away from home. You will need to establish a timeout spot for your child and follow the timeout process.

The most important thing to remember is to be consistent every time and your child will know what is expected of them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Monday, October 11, 2010

Guide to: Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Do you ever end up with green or gray yolks when you make hard boiled eggs? I'm going to share with you the way to get a perfect yellow yolk every time.

Start with cold eggs and place them in a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and put the lid on the pot. Turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Then, run the eggs under cold water until they have cooled down.

Once cooled, the eggs are ready to be peeled and enjoyed!!

Tip: If you are having trouble peeling the shell from the egg, just peel it under cold running water and it will slide right off.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Guide to: Dressing a Tall 4 Year Old

Once my pre-schooler no longer required diapers or training pants, it was hard to find clothes that fit her. She could still wear her size 2T jeans, but they were way too short for her!!

Here's my secret....look for a size 4 SLIM!! Take note that many stores only carry slim and plus sizes on-line. I ordered jeans from Crazy 8 and The Children's Place that fit her to a "T".

The only difference between these size 2T and 4 Slim is the length!! I always look for pants and skirts with adjustable waist.


Guide to: Creating a Budget Bento Lunch

My pre-school aged daughter doesn't like to eat sandwiches. So, I have to be creative when it comes to packing her lunches. I'm inspired by the bento style lunches as found on the blog "Another Lunch", but quite honestly, I don't have the time or the money to invest in such "cuteness"!!
So for my version of a Bento Box Lunch, I used a trusted old Tupperware divided plate. A small star shaped cookie cutter from the R & M Star Shaped Cookie Cutter Set was the perfect tool to cut through two slices of ham at a time. Then I arranged them on top of pieces of pepperoni.



Guide to: Creating Black Frosting

Have you ever tried to make black tinted frosting? I know it doesn't look very appetizing, but how else would you make a Mickey Mouse cake??

In any case, my secret to creating black frosting is to start out with chocolate and then add a bunch of Wilton's black icing gel. To make things simple , I like to use the boxed mixes and tub frosting for my cup cakes.

 Hollywood "Walk of Fame" Star Cupcakes - all ready for the party!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

“Only one that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep.”
-Chinese Proverb